tv History of the Slave Trade CSPAN January 28, 2018 10:45pm-11:01pm EST
we have to sort of re-examine who we are. why we do things. in my case, in particular, i am interested in how powerful visual images shape the way we see our world. steve: author and professor david lubin. the book is called "grand illusions: american art & the first world war." for joining us here on c-span3's american history tv. mr. lubin: thank you, steve. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] taking a lookare back 50 years to 1968 when the north vietnamese made a surprise attack on the south on the vietnamese new year holiday. give us your feedback and comments at facebook.com/c-span history. and on twitter at c-span history. during the early colonization of america, newport became a major hub in the slave trade. learn how that happened and how
the enslaved people learned to adapt to their new world. one of the things i have learned growing up in newport, and before becoming involved in history and interpretation, my grandmother would remind me of -- as a child, slavery is how we got here. it doesn't tell you the story of the people. my interest is telling the story of the people. clearly, people of african ancestry arrived in the americas the 70's or south america, we arrive under the most perilous and difficult circumstances of human slavery. on the other hand, we persevered. the fact that so many of african heritage exist in newport or , or barbados,york or anywhere in the western hemisphere is a testament to our perseverance. 1639 over the course of the next 100 years, newport
and the colony of rhode island would grow to become mentally one of the most active ports in british north america, but it also became the most active slave port. between 7005 and 1805, newport were responsible for nearly 1000 slave voyages from rhode island to the west african coast, to the west indies and back to rhode island. they transported 100,000 africans back to the new world during that 100 year period. hadafricans that arrived several pathways. for the most part, rhode island being an english colony was trading in other english colonies and settlements. in the case of west africa, it is the golden gate because, what we recognize from nigeria to gollum to ginny. from there, africans would be taken to the west indies to english settlements and what today we recognize as the bahamas, jamaica, and barbados. from there, africans, along with
other products and goods would be transported back to newport in rhode island. what we call the triangle trade as part of the transatlantic trade. in the case of newport, this trade was almost single leap tied to roman manatt -- to roman. from the beginning of the 10th century to the end of the 18th century, newport itself was involved in about 80% of what is called the guinea rum trade. newport ships would literally take rum that was distilled and produced in newport, and it would trade it for enslaved africans. those africans would be transported to the english colonies of the west indies, mostly jamaica, barbados, and from there, they would become the labor force that would work in the sugar plantations that would produce the sugar and molasses. newport ships would take the materials and transported back to newport which would be distilled into more rum and that rum was used for consumption. the european transatlantic slave trade went on for nearly four
centuries. america,se of colonial the system is different than what many people might have a sense of today. any people, when they think in terms of african enslavement, they tend to think of a west indian system, or it's a valium southern -- or antebellum southern american system. they tend to think of cotton field, rice, sugar plantations, which all existed and were a part of the cash crop system. in new england, we never had good weather, we don't have great soil. we were not producing the cash crops. the africans that came to new england generally, were more involved in the urban trade skills that were required and a time. in the case of newport, we have primary and secondary records that show africans being apprenticed in trade and as artisans. many were involved as shipwrights. they are involved in silver making.
fine furniture, run making. seamstress. any of the work that was required in urban new england colonial seaport communities, these africans were involved in doing. so it is not a better or worse circumstance, it is a different circumstance. the economy of colonial new england, the climate, the opportunities for training and education were different from what enslaved africans would see in the american south and the west indies. by the very fact that newport was at the center of the african slave trade and the significant number of africans coming to newport, by the middle part of the 18th century, the few years leading to the american revolution, nearly a third of the population of newport are enslaved africans. in fact, one out of every three families in colonial newport owned at least one slave. so from that perspective, it was a significant number of africans, very much a part of the population and workforce. rhode island is also settled by
whites looking for the expression of religious freedom, escaping tyranny of old world and new world. religious freedom and the ability to worship freely was very important as a concept in this community. you find africans enslaved in religious households take on the religious identity of the master or mistress. so in quaker communities, slaves took on a quaker identity. in the anglican episcopal church, they become anglican. we have africans listed as israelites. what is important is that africans have access to work skills, training skills, they are actively worshiping in the same place as master and mistress and third most important, there is no separation of living environments. most africans were living in the same quarters as master and mistress. they are living in an attic or pantry. there is this living together, working together, worshiping together. this interdependent life. that would have been largely unheard in the south or the west indies.
this tightknit community of interactivity would allow africans to have access to language skills, social skills. that would allow them to reclaim their african identity much earlier and in a much more comprehensive way than africans enslaved elsewhere. by the mid-part of the 18th century, we find a number of africans purchasing their freedom or being emancipated. they buy homes and set up shops. by 1780, the first time in world history, a group of africans come together in newport and form the free african union. this free african union in newport does three things. it raises money and saves money to educate africans, establishes the first free african school in newport, and would raise money for proper burial. the oldest and largest existing african burial ground in america is in newport. many surviving markers are paid for and carved by fellow africans.
the third most important piece is they wanted to reclaim their african identity. many africans through this union society, this school and their own church, they would reclaim their african names and customs and that would be in place in newport throughout the 18th century and 19th century. this is important because today, there are at least 30 buildings or historic structures from the colonial era that are directly related to not only where africans were enslaved and more importantly, where africans owned property, applied a trade and worshiped and taught their children. on a personal level, history is more than a vocation of study or learning. for me, it is a way of life, a definition of who you are. my own family, on my mother's side, we date back over 10 generations in newport. many of our newport ancestors did not look like george or martha washington or worship like them. their backgrounds were african heritage, native heritage, and jewish heritage.
for me, this provides an opportunity to talk about all of american history in an inclusive manner. i have been very fortunate because every generation of my family has maintained heirlooms that have been passed down to the next. we have 18th-century and 19th-century collections of furniture, clothing, books, documents, all the things a family might have and cherish, they have been passed on to this day. it gives us a strong sense of not only being real newporters, but most importantly, real americans. our story is one that is an untold story of so many other americans in this country to this day. again, america was founded on the ideals of not only liberty of conscience and freedom but the ideals that anyone regardless of race or ethnicity, religious persuasion, had the right to settle here and prosper here. the story of newport very much represents that story. announcer: our city's tour staff
recently traveled to newport, rhode island to learn about its rich history. learn more about newport on our tour at c-span.org/citytours. your watching "american history tv", all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> standby. my fellowan: i would like to take a few minutes to look ahead at some of the challenges before our nation this year. by the way, i will be doing more looking ahead on monday night when i go up to capitol hill to deliver the annual state of the union address. it is the only statement with the constitution itself where it requires the president to give. almost all presidents since woodrow wilson have delivered states of the union in person, not just sent up written messages. this will be my seventh time.
let me tell you, the thrill of standing in that place where so many great residents have stood and have continued eight tradition that has gone back to george washington and signifies our determination that as lincoln said, a government of, by, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. that thrill never goes away. i am looking forward to monday night, i hope you will tune in. as i will tell congress, we in washington have a lot of work ahead of us. for starters, reserving the economic growth of the last five years. last week, we had good news. our trade deficit dropped by 25%. more importantly, our exports which have been climbing for more than one year, shot forward nearly 10% in one month and reached the highest levels in american history. is in anican industry expert room and our economy is strong. it is the envy of the world. we all know there are still
unanswered questions in our economic future. the biggest, are we going to keep working to reduce our budget deficit? the administration and congress have made progress. in the legislation and in this year's budget compromise, we need to do more. on monday, i will remind congress of good ideas that are past due for action. like the veto and the balance budget amendment. surprise, we wait for congress to show it is serious about putting the government's house in order. no issue we will take up in the year ahead is more significant than the issue of peace with freedom. whether in this hemisphere or around the world. on monday, i will formally submit to the senate for advice and consent to ratify the intermediate nuclear forces inaty, that we signed december. it is a good treaty. a solid one with the most expensive -- extensive
provisions in history. it will make america and its allies more secure. monday evening, i will remind the congress that the step toward enduring peace would never have come if not for the forces of democracy hadn't been strong. and, i will ask for expeditious senate action. with freedom is also in the strength of the democratic forces. some say if you are for the freedom fighters, you're against the peace process. bully. even the east has big net -- have told -- yet to date, they haven't gone through with one concession. they canatize, that easily reversed once the pressure of the freedom fighters is off. at stake is whether nicaragua becomes a soviet base camp on the mainland of this hemisphere. imagine if the semis took a vision of a communist central america is realized and mexico is threatened?
the next vote on aid to the freedom fighters may be the most important this congress has. on monday, i will ask congress to vote yes, there are great challenges and opportunities in the year ahead. on monday, i will also talk about continuing to bring greater excellence to education. i will mention ways to raise the quality of our schools. i will remind congress but the most important thing is not to throw quantities of money at education, but to tie funding to results and have a commitment to quality and state and local control of schools. that is a glimpse of the year ahead. as i said, you will hear more monday night. let is the nation's future, me turn for a minute to something more personal. a girl,have read about she was born with a severe birth defect and recently, in an operating room, received five new organs. money, aske time and
much as $1 million, to return her to full health. her parents have exhausted their medical insurance, so a fund has been set up to help them. i know you join me in praying that she will someday be able to lead a normal life. until next week, thank you for listening. bless theyou, and god bath of faster. >> cut. on tuesday, president trump delivers the first side of the union address of his administration before a joint session of congress. american history tv, we look back to 1982 and president ronald reagan's first state of the union speech. this is about 45 minutes. >>